The joy of an expanding family was the catalyst for interior designer Mark Dalton’s clients to search for more space and a gorgeous view of the water. They finally settled on a 4-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath attached townhome on Longboat Key, which answered both those needs—with some modification.
“They wanted plenty of room for the grandkids, but also desired it to be low-maintenance,” recalls Dalton. “We also wanted to create offices for them, out of the way of little hands, but still with fantastic views of Sarasota Bay.”
Dalton called on his long-time partner in remodeling, Jeff Francola of J & K Building & Remodeling, whose practicality acts as a perfect foil to Dalton’s untrammeled creativity.
“Existing walls mean nothing to Mark. He is always thinking outside of the box,” says Francola. “It is up to me to make his vision a reality and do so on budget.”
Global Views glass “raindrops” and a swirling blue wall rug from Rugs As Art, help make the great room’s soaring 30-foot ceiling less intimidating. The gas fireplace is from American Grill & Hearth. A custom banquette echoes the piano’s curves and the upholstery of Anne French Jardin Maze velvet adds softness, as does the gray micro plush fabric sectional.
The two have worked well together over the past decade and this project was no exception.
They first gutted the entire home, leaving only the roof. Then Francola built a loft space for the owner’s requested offices, using the 30-foot cathedral ceiling, leaving Dalton to unify the remaining huge room downstairs.
“The owners wanted me to do everything to maximize the view, but I needed it to avoid the home being just a cold white rectangle,” he says.
The wrought iron smoked glass and Edison bulb chandelier illuminates the Sahara Noir Marble-topped dining table. White leather chairs banded with dark Wenge wood seat eight. High-gloss black cabinetry holds glassware to service the dry bar beneath, and black leather stools with gray piping add seating on the dining side of the Cambria Britannica-topped kitchen counter
The lower ceiling creates an intimacy in the open kitchen. Smoked glass pendants illuminate the Silestone Platinum Zirconium countertop on the custom hickory island. White leather stools provide seating, and the prep portion of the island is served by a Galley Ideal Workstation sink and Blanco Culina Semi-Professional faucet from The Plumbing Place. The stunning backsplash is Design Works’ A.K.D.O. Heritage Blend 2, a cement tile. High-gloss white cabinets reach to the ceiling and Thermador appliances make light work for the chef. A custom rug from Rugs As Art acts as a border.
The upholstered bed and headboard, clad in Duralee’s Static Lapis and reaching to the ceiling is one of designer Dalton’s favorite choices to add softness to a master bedroom like this one. Williams Sonoma Home’s printed Marrakesh Ikat bedding is topped with a custom throw. The Stressless City High Back chair and ottoman in Clementine leather supply a pop of Dalton’s signature orange. Parchment-shaded sconces light the Benjamin Moore Galveston Gray walls.
Dalton warmed the space with hickory wood, used as wall panels in the great room to act as an arrow, directing one’s view to the Bay. The panels carried through to the dining room, tying the spaces together. He hung a rug on the wall as art and used upholstered furniture wherever possible to soften the look.
To prevent the great room’s ceilings from being overpoweringly tall, Dalton hung unexpected stands of glass “raindrops” down the wall to lower visitors’ gazes. The drops recall an actual waterfall Dalton designed in the owners’ previous home.
“The husband said, ‘No more waterfalls in this house!’ so I designed one that contained no actual water,” Dalton laughs.
Entire sheets of Crossville Laminam Naturali Statuario Venato porcelain were set in place from the floor to the ceiling by Francola in the sumptuous master bath—the perfect setting for the Bain Ultra Nokori free-standing tub. The trough sink faucet and the tub filler are Axor Citterio for Hansgrohe from The Plumbing Place. A poured-concrete bench is convenient in the shower, which has a rainfall head from Jaclo Industries and a Hansgrohe Raindance hand-held showerhead.
Such whimsy is a hallmark of Dalton’s work. Each of his projects contains his signature color—clementine orange—a quirk derived from his childhood when Dalton’s mother, an enthusiastic amateur designer, always included an orange chair in her homes. He has just such a chair in his own home, and included one here in the master bedroom.
Dalton also took into account the little folks likely to be underfoot in this home. “I used all commercial grade fabrics that are basically indestructible. As for cleaning the porcelain tile floor, you could blow all the dirt out with a leaf blower,” he laughs.
Builder Francola even created a sod strip outside, once covered in pavers, to act as a place to walk the couple’s dog. He also fashioned a poured and polished concrete lanai, topped with shell stone and intersected with loose black rocks. When those rocks interfered with guests’ footing at a cocktail party, he came back and reworked them with polymer to provide surer footing. u
“I never go home until a job is truly done,” says Francola, “and a trait I have is that I problem-solve well. I think on my feet, which makes no challenge too difficult.”
“Being intuitive and understanding what my clients want, even if they can’t express it well, is my strong suit,” says Dalton. “I formulate a plan to meet their needs and desires—even the unspoken ones—and in 34 years, I haven’t guessed wrong yet. These owners were delighted with their new home.”
Custom Garry Wettach hickory sofa beds in the children’s guest room are covered in extremely durable Stroheim Schnabel Krypton fabric. Pillows and the window treatments are made of equally indestructible Stroheim Santa Marta Krypton fabric. A custom hickory table holds metal lamps with silk shades while a floating cabinet adds storage. The rug underfoot and colorful fish wall art are from Rugs As Art.
The woman of the house does her work in the light-filled upstairs office, sitting at a navy-stained wood and chrome-legged writing desk atop a contemporary area rug from Rugs As Art.
Benjamin Moore’s Newburyport Blue sets the sophisticated tone of this powder bath. The intricately patterned tile is Liquid Glass Flower from Fisher Tile. Mini pendants highlight the Luxxor Extra Pure White quartz countertop. The Lacava Cube sink is serviced by an Axor Massaud waterfall chrome faucet from the Plumbing Place.
The one-piece headboard and bed are upholstered in a poly blend fabric with organic cotton linens dressing the bed. A trio of yellow poufs are made of knitted yarn and rest on a geometric custom area rug from Rugs As Art. A walnut three-drawer chest serves as a nightstand.
The stunning whole-wall porcelain backsplash in Bleach Herringbone is from Design Works. Sconces illuminate the outdoor kitchen, which features black outdoor Trex Shaker cabinets topped with Dekton Aura natural stone. The table and mesh chairs invite outdoor dining. Poured and sanded concrete topped with shells and punctuated with black river rocks is underfoot. Just off the lanai, a “dog-walking” strip and chairs flank a gas Key Largo firepit from American Grill & Hearth
Written by Kitt Walsh
Photography by Nicholas Ferris
American Grill & Hearth
2881 Clark Road #16
Sarasota, FL 34231
4500 Carmichael Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34234
2337 12th Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
J & K Building & Remodeling
6321 Porter Rd. Suite 12
Sarasota, FL 34240
Sarasota, FL 34236
The Plumbing Place
5678 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34232
Rugs As Art
6650 South Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34231